Food Supply



In the old days John raised cows, Joe grew wheat and Jennifer fished: individuals produced food and traded it.

Our supply of food has been whittled down to fewer and fewer sources. The grocery stores have amalgamated into 2-3 giant companies. Farms have been sewn together to form massive food machines. Even the struggling independent variety store owner is forced to get many of his supplies from costco and walmart. Naturally big companies are merging in many industries. Its an effective way to both eliminate the competition and create a larger, more capable, organization.

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Food is now produced more efficiently, with the cost savings carried down to the shareholder.

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The most obvious problem with this is the question of what happens when something goes wrong? Take a huge place like Maple Leaf. One production source has an outbreak of deadly virus, it affects a massive slice of the population. What choice have we got when ML is the only brand Blahblahs and such will carry? If John spit in the milk in the old days only a couple families may have been affected.

You’ve also got to wonder, in these days of credit crunch and greedy people essentially investing more money than there is available; what happens if one of the masters of our food supply up and collapses one day? It happens. Banks and insurance companies can bankrupt out from under people’s feet, why not grocers? Let’s suppose the next generation of Westons run blahblas into the ground and loose out to walmart and sobeys. Some poor investments that sink them fast, but they keep it a secret for the most part. One day they just announce: the ships going down, we’re calling this company bankrupt. They escape to their yachts to sulk. Now again, if joe the farmer dies, well its tragic, but he’s just one guy- its the kind of blip in the supply chain that we can easily overcome without problems. If we get all our food from 3 sources and one goes down, is the transition to 2 sources going to be seamless, do we want it to be?

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The biggest worry though, is what happens if something big goes wrong. What if there is a major disaster that cripples our network of supplies. Which system do you think is better equipped? A merged food supply relies on central control to keep production and distribution happening. In the old days communities had most of what they needed to survive locally, today most communities don’t even produce food- or they produce one kind but depend on (feed/seed) externally.

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One day something bad will happen, its regrettably inevitable, meanwhile our eggs are being put into fewer and fewer baskets.

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What can you do? Nothing, you have to eat. You will keep feeding these corporate beasts because you have no choice. Hey, by the time this all actually brings about the ruin of civilization we will probably be long gone, so really its a win win situation.

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16 Responses to “Food Supply”

  1. exuvia Says:

    Take a trip to latin America, home of the free; where the corn is natural and people eat horse beans. It’s cheap and good. Throw in a banana and an avocado, ripe at 40 Cents of a dollar.

    If your country shows signs of collapsing it’s time to widen the horizon.

    Greetings
    Exuvia

  2. Jules Cosby Says:

    You’re right Remi, it’s a remarkably efficient system. But it’s efficiency can easily be called into question when you look at what the economists call “externalities”. When we ship lettuce in from California, how much energy is being used to essentially send cold water from one end of the continent to another. How much pollution are we creating just so someone can have a salad (in my opinion the stupidest “food” ever created by man – just eat the cheese and drink the dressing already!) in the dead of winter?

    I also like the fact that you used the words “central control”, because that’s clearly what it is. People are deathly afraid of and totally opposed to central control by the state, but when it’s done by a few corporations, that’s just the Providence of freedom manifesting itself.

    Eat local, and as low on the food chain as you can.

  3. remistevens Says:

    true Jules,
    efficient to manage, efficient towards saturating all markets with the same product, efficient when calculated into operating expenses.

    inefficient, when efficiency is based purely on the usage of resources and energy.

    Youre pointing out one of the biggest problem with capitalism. Something thats lean and efficient for corporate is often extremely expensive for the planet.

  4. in my ignorance Says:

    well some food might become extinct but is it possible because there is seeds to so it cant really fade away unless yew throw them seeds away. i hear that tequila is not gunna be produced anymore due to lack of that one ingredient. and with all the fruits in hair product its no wonder healthy food costs more than junk food. junk food is just made up of cheap artificial bullshit

  5. remistevens Says:

    they may be able to contain some of the lost species in a seed library type storage area, but if the plant cannot be grown because of new stronger breeds that kill it, these seeds would be no better than theories. Although im sure there will be greenhouses of the future growing special plants for the rich.

    soon to be “cheap artificial bullshit” everywhere except in the homes of the wealthy.

  6. exuvia Says:

    Nature as the most expensive commodity; the privilege of the rich. Who would have thought that back when poor folks lived in the forest, poaching the kings feathers? Back then most people wanted in on the city life; best if you could have a house next to the church and face to face with the city plaza. But then every one began leaving again. The church was suddenly empty and water front was the property to get; down town became a place for pimps and pushers trying to tickle the kings nose with a feather. Nature now has a late recognition almost like that of a dead artist; he or she is not going to produce any more paintings so their previous work soars in value. Mother nature is loosing her brush and colors and now she is worth millions.

  7. remistevens Says:

    very true,

    just look at the property values in cottage country.

  8. Spam Baby its OK! « The Remi Stevens Bolg Says:

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  9. The Primacy of Physics « The Remi Stevens Bolg Says:

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  10. ashley Says:

    I totally agree on everything except the statement that “you have no choice”. It may be hard in lots of parts of the US, but we all can wean ourselves off of ConAgra’s gas-guzzling teat by learning to grow our own food! Even if you live in a dense urban area (like I do), you can find space on your property (in a backyard, on a deck, even in hanging planters along your building’s walls) to grow substantial amounts of food, or your can join a local agricultural co-op and receive a box of fresh fruits and veggies every week. Most parts of Cuba switched from a factory-farm model to a local agriculture model in the early 90′s when their oil supply crashed – http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-VHt5QchfdQ

  11. remistevens Says:

    Thanks for the link and the excellent point Ashley. The Cuban model is very interesting- a whole country surviving without oil and the corporate food supply.

    Growing up in the country we had a large garden and a few chickens to lay eggs. Self production was substantial. I’ve tried growing my own veggies here on my deck in the city- with some luck. But the limits of space made it only possible to really grow toppings for real food. Urbanites have the advantage of a wider supply though. There are enough of us here willing to pay a little extra for local, natural foods; with a decent market for the stuff, there is a decent supply. There’s even an Amish meat market!

    You’re right, there is a choice, but its going to be expensive either on your time or your wallet. Thankfully more and more people are seeing the need to wean themselves off the corporate food supply. The more people do it, the more accessible and cheaper it gets!

  12. remistevens Says:

    Hey, it would be technically possible to go completely off the corporate grid, but it would be incredibly difficult. And to live completely from your own food as an urbanite- impossible. Even back home in the country here in Canada i doubt very much i could survive on all my own grown food. Taxes, bills, mortgages. . . .people unfortunately need to spend their time making money not growing food. Its an increasingly hard choice to make for the poor.

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